Update It! Replace It! Change It Back! Epcot (part 2)

by MouseStation Crew, staff writer

MouseStation 442 - Update It! Replace It! Change It Back! Epcot (part 2)

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Show run time 0:34:27

On today's show, Mike and Mark finish their talk about attractions at Epcot that need updating or replacing, or should be changed back to what they were before an update or replacement.

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Feature: Update It! Replace It! Change It Back! Epcot (part 2)

Mike and Mark finish their talk about attractions at Epcot that need updating or replacing, or should be changed back to what they were before an update or replacement.

Discussion picked up where we left off last time as Mike and Mark talked about Horizons (see former Imagineer George McGinnis' four-part story about the creation of the pavilion here: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4). While Mark thinks that Mission: Space is an interesting and fun attraction, this is still his #1 "Change It Back!" Mike was a bit more torn over choosing between the two.

The Wonders of Life pavilion shuttered all of its attractions to become merely the home to the Festival Center for the Flower & Garden and Food & Wine Festivals. Mark and Mike agree that this is a "replace it FAIL." They would both like to have Wonders back.

Universe of Energy/Ellen's Energy Adventure left Mark and Mike torn. Mark likes some of the new theming, but misses the old pre-show and music. Still, regardless of what they do to it, it's still just "The 45-Minute Nap."

El Rio del Tiempo/Gran Fiesta Tour starring The Three Caballeros (Mark slipped and called them The Three Amigos at first.) Mark thinks it's a mixed bag. Mike just thinks it's an update fail. There has been no real change to Maelstrom (read former Imagineer Paul Torrigino's four-part story about the creation of the pavilion here: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4). China's updating of its Circlevision movie probably slipped right past many guests without their realizing that it had been updated.

The American Adventure has not been changed, but the America Gardens Theater gained a roof and back during the run of "The Magical World of Barbie" show. The stage also grew quite a bit. The performance venue is much better, but it lost a bit in terms of ambiance. Japan's Bijutsu-Kan art gallery undergoes frequent refreshes of its exhibit, and so it's a mixed bag.

The France movie has only been augmented with a switch to digital projection with no changes to the film. Canada's updating of its Circlevision film was a big win, according to both Mark and Mike.

Let us know which attractions you think should be updated, replaced, or changed back!

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Listener Feedback

Vance Cope thanked us via Twitter for leaving in our silliness at the end of the last show. He enjoys hearing us "go 101."

Chuck wrote that he agrees 100% with our observations of changes at Epcot. Chuck worked on the installation of the ride control systems for World of Motion, Imagination and all the other rides that were running on opening day, and he was appalled to see what they have morphed into.

Bothepro24 commented on the show notes thread on the MousePad discussion forums. He would like to return to an earlier voice artist for the Spaceship Earth narration. Mark continues to forget the name of Larry Dobkin, the first narrator for the attraction.

mmorizio made it short, sweet, and to the point on the show notes thread on the MousePad discussion forums. "Lost Horizons. Want it back." Check out Mike's curmudgeonly videos, which are published the first Tuesday of every month here on MousePlanet.

DisneyGator commented on the show notes thread on the MousePad discussion forums. They like the new version of Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, and Imagination, and his kids love the Nemo overlay for the Seas pavilion. He does miss Imaginum as live entertainment in World Showcase.

spectromen commented on the show notes thread on the MousePad discussion forums. He liked Jeremy Irons much better than Dame Judi Dench as narrator for Spaceship Earth. He's also not impressed by the attraction's new music and new ending. He's a big fan of the new Animatronics in the attraction, though, and would love to see the same updates to the Ellen figures at Energy and all figures at the Great Movie Ride.

IllusionOfLife commented on the show notes thread on the MousePad discussion forums. They're not a big fan of the changes to Spaceship Earth, especially in narration and the ending. They're also not fond of Circle of Life the updated Imagination attraction, Captain EO, or Test Track.

StarTourist commented on the show notes thread on the MousePad discussion forums. They love Captain EO, even minus the laser effects, but would love the original Journey Into Imagination attraction to return. They also agree with Mark and Mike about the Epcot entrance "graveyard."

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  1. By IllusionOfLife

    Picking up where we left off:

    Horizons: I honestly have no memories of this attraction. I was sadly too young the last time I rode it to remember it, but from what I've heard it sounds brilliant. It's tragic that this attraction is lost to us, but at the same time I do quite enjoy Mission: Space. While realistically I don't think Horizons will ever come back, I don't think there's any reason why Horizons and Mission: Space could not co-exist in the same park.

    Wonders of Life
    : I have very fond memories of both Cranium Command and Body Wars and the last time we visited Epcot passing by the shuttered pavilion was downright depressing. I understand the necessity of festival centers, but I'd love to see Wonders of Life come back. Certainly there's other places where the temporary festival centers could be set up.

    Universe of Energy: Ellen's Energy Adventure, I feel, was a fairly successful update to Universe of Energy, however, it's already starting to feel quite dated. Bill Nye the Science Guy, Jeopardy, and Ellen DeGeneres aren't exactly staples of pop culture anymore, and it is just begging for an update. It's not the worst thing in future world, not by any means, but in my opinion it feels the most dated.

    Gran Fiesta Tour: Gran Fiesta Tour feels like a half-baked waste of an attraction, but to be fair, I always felt the same way about El Rio del Tiempo. El Rio del Tiempo came across to me as a wanna-be It's a Small World minus the charm, and Gran Fiesta Tour feels like a wanna-be Fantasyland dark ride minus the charm or the attention to detail. I'd call it an update fail, but it's not like I hold the original in high regards either.

    Aside from that, as you said, nothing really significant has changed in World Showcase except for Canada, but I like Martin Short so that gets an 'A' in my book.

    Thanks for another great show. Hopefully I've been less long-winded than usual

  2. By DisneyGator

    Man, I'm surprised at all the hate for Three Caballeros. The previous ride was horrible. So boring and cheesy. Is the new ride INCREDIBLE. No, but it's a vast improvement. The music is better, and my kids always want to go on "The Donald Ride". They crack up everytime, and I'll admit that it makes me grin to see Donald chasing his bathing suit.

    I never got to do Horizons, but I'm not sure how Mission:Space could be seen as a fail. What a kick in the butt that ride is. Love it.

  3. By carolinakid

    I like the Gran Fiesta Tour, but to be honest I miss all the male eye candy that was to be found in El Rio del Tiempo! Just sayin'...

  4. By mkelm44

    Hey guys,

    I was listening the last couple of weeks as you went around EPCOT and had a few thoughts I wanted to share. First off, Universe of Energy should be changed for two reasons- one it is simply too long- at 45 minutes it's as long as many stage shows and much less exciting. The bigger reason why I think it needs to change is that it simply seems dated to me both in terms of cast and content. I don't know if Bill Nye the science guy is really relevant anymore; considering that his show has been off the air for 14 years now. Ellen is relevant because of her talk show, but Nye isn't really in the public eye anymore.

    The Wonder of Life pavilion is an area that something has to happen- whether its knocked down, renovated, something. I always enjoyed the Body Wars ride and Cranium Command was a lot of fun. I'd like to see it refurbished and brought back in as a functioning pavilion again- I think given the childhood obesity issue and the Let's Move! campaign that is going on that a pavilion which teaches about the body would be both educational and appropriate.

    The last one I want to comment on is Mission Space, which I'm going to have to disagree with you on. I much prefer it to Horizons for the simple reason that Horizons felt like all of the other rides at Epcot- you sat down and passively watched as the BIG VOICE told you about something. I know you got to press a button for the last 30 seconds, but it always seemed to me to be too passive. The criticism of EPCOT always has been that it was too intellectual and boring; simply put the park needed something with thrills. Soarin!, Mission: Space and Test Track provide an E ticket ride with thrills that break up the rest of the day at EPCOT. Also, Horizons was getting dated. It was a vision of the 21st Century that didn't really reflect the 21st century anymore; it had become retro-future, which is the specialty of Futureland, not EPCOT which is supposed to be cutting edge.

    I'm sorry- one last thing; what is the status of the Odyssey restaurant? I think it's only used for conferences now, but it seems like it's taking up some valuable real estate at EPCOT. Surely there is something else that can be done there...

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